I'd buy it fast. Don't plan on working on it yet until you are ready but at least have the tree. That is just my approach.Threadjacking my own thread here I know, but while we're all here . I was at the local nursery and found a giant section of split-rock cypress on sale that had seen better days, but had lots of new growth. Is something like this desirable for a novice to take on or should I stick with something smaller?
(they were marked down to $50 and about 7' tall)
and for scale
Thread continues to give! Thanks again everyone. Instead of wasting people's time I decided to crawl through a few nurseries today and just get a couple smaller trees. In the bargain bin I was able to get a Yew for $15 and a boxwood for $20. I've attached some photos below for reference. I see conflicting information on when to do an initial prune on nursery stock, with most folks just getting right to it here in the summer time. I also need to get the boxwood in a pot, not sure it'll last long in that rootball (mudball).
Okay you got a pretty good deal on them and have something to work with.
Bonsai is by NO means a race; look at it, make the decision today of what to do in your mind, or by using a sketch, then walk away for a month or two. Come back and go through the whole process again. If you STILL feel this branch needs to leave or needs this curve or that cutting back--then do it. View as many bonsai as you have the opportunity to so that you can develop a "feel" for the different styles. With time your experience will grow and you won't even need that lag time before you KNOW when and where to cut. I would suggest plopping it into a large wide box of good soil to give that mud ball a chance to loosen up and increase the over-all vigor of the tree before you start with the root pruning process and all.
Just my take on the situation and on your experience level. Hope it helps
It does help, and thanks for taking the time to respond. I went crazy on these trees, the yew is probably trashed, but the boxwood has some potential but I was limited to how far I could prune back while leaving some leaves, kind of funny looking at the moment. My hopes is that it'll backbud and I can take it back in steps. I was able to pick up a royal burgundy barberry that I've hacked down as well.
I'm finding why some of this must be learned in person at a club as there are some major gaps of knowledge w/ regards to how far to cut this back etc. Keeping the nursery stock I pick to under $20/ea should help keep the lessons inexpensive for now I hope.
The problem with this hobby is not only the time it takes to learn, but the space in your yard. You'll soon have 20+ trees/bonsai projects. The only way to get better though is to work hands on and to look at a lot of pictures. When you see more styles and trees it gives you more ideas when you have nursery stock. This forum also is helpful. Looking at progressions of other members trees really shows you the path of developing a shrub, tree, or dug up old stump into a bonsai. You'll also get an eye for seeing stock that can make a great bonsai or one that doesn't have potential.
I find the hobby most enjoyable as a past time not to get too obsessed over. It's hard in the beginning but I'm only 3 years in and I'm starting to enjoy it now rather than be obsessed in having something finished. That's all I have to say as a fellow nooby.
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